Duluth’s Mayor Ness: Cooler by the lake

“Duluth’s youthful chief executive is bringing fresh energy and, yes, a sense of hipness to the port city.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune: “Duluth’s Mayor Ness: Cooler by the lake


Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

By the way, the front-page teaser on the Strib's print edition features this photo of the mayor looking not particularly young or hip.

Which reminds me of some notes I've been holding on to for about four years that also highlight Don's not-necessarily hip side. 

I wrote a profile on the mayor for Duluth-Superior Magazine back when he was first elected. I decided to interview his brother Patrick, who unlike the other Ness brothers hasn't lived in Duluth for over a decade. Patrick's silly little recollections never made it into the story, but I kind of enjoy them. Now is as good of a time as any to share.

* Patrick told me Don pulled all-night study sessions as a 7th grader. "He would always keep two jars in the drawer for those wee hours -- a jar of cherry pie filling and a jar of cake frosting. But c'mon, a 12-year-old studying until 3 or 4 in the morning?" 
* Don was painfully shy, according to Patrick. "He used to pay me a dollar to call Collector's Connection to ask about a particular baseball card."
* Don saved Patrick from drowning in Lake Superior. "I was 12; he was 16 (and about as tall as he is now). Big waves. I got pulled out with an undertow. I almost drowned him as well while he rescued me."  
* Don was the only older kid in the neighborhood who Patrick's friends were allowed to trade baseball cards with. "(Their parents) knew he wouldn't rip them off."

Try to dig up dirt on the mayor's past and you just find out he's a bigger nerd than you ever imagined.


about 9 years ago

Since coming to Duluth 9 months ago and still struggling with the job search gig it has been things like PDD and getting to know Mayor Ness that have helped me keep my chin up.

I have known the hipster wannabe mayors in other cities, but Mayor Ness is the real deal.  Homegrown for sure.


about 9 years ago

Yep, one of Duluth's own and I am happy to have him as a mayor.

He may not be perfect, and I may disagree with some of his decisions, but he is far better than some transplant who thinks they know how to run our city. 

Plus, it is nice to see him out enjoying all the same things that most of us enjoy. He looked like he was having a blast at the Willie Nelson concert, but then again so was everyone else.


about 9 years ago

My mother (who is from St. Paul) keeps going on and on about our mayor.

De man

about 9 years ago

Two quotes stuck out,

"[C]onstituent Jerry Fredrickson: 'You'll be mayor for life if you're not careful.'"


"'We're from Duluth,'" Ness said."

You're damn right we're from Duluth!

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

I mean, the guy just exudes hipness.

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Read previous post:
Jambox – Tune it in

My 14-year old told me about this this weekend as we were walking the dog around the neighborhood. "There's a...